Baseball: Mundelein continues its late-inning heroics, earns trip to state
The "Magic Mustangs" did it again Tuesday in Schaumburg.
Mundelein's version of the cardiac kids won their fourth consecutive state playoff game in their final at-bat Tuesday in Schaumburg.
Drew Wellington slid home with the winning run thanks to an RBI single by Christian Seminaro in the bottom of the seventh. That powered the Mustangs to a 2-1 win over Glenbrook South in the Class 4A Supersectional at Wintrust Field.
Mundelein (28-5) will meet McHenry in the state semifinals Friday at 5 p.m. at Duly Field in Joliet. McHenry advanced to the state finals by beating York 2-1 in 11 innings Tuesday.
"We want to build the suspense a little but said a smiling Mundelein coach Randy Lerner.
"We have to keep the fans ready for the walk off."
Mundelein, which will be making its first appearance at the state finals since 2016 when they lost in the state title game. Lerner, who was an assistant coach on that team, said that his Mustangs are playing well right now.
"We work, we work, we work," Lerner said. "We have the guys to score the runs. The beauty of baseball is that hitting and scoring runs is one side of it. We have to make sure that we are playing good defense and getting good pitching. And we are."
Mundelein has had a ride to the state semifinals that could belong in Disney World.
After the Mustangs beat Rolling Meadows in the opening round, Mundelein knocked off Buffalo Grove 6-5, scoring two run in the bottom of the seventh for the regional title.
Mundelein then beat Barrington 1-0 in the sectional opener, with the Mustangs scoring the only run of the game in the bottom of the sixth. Then came crazy sectional final 2-1 win over Fremd, with Mundelein scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth on a dropped third strike.
Add in Tuesday's win over Glenbrook South and even Houdini's head would spin.
"I guess we want to make it exciting," said Wellington, who led off the seventh with a walk.
"I can't believe it. It is something like you see in a movie, you can't make this stuff up."
Wellington stole second on the first pitch to Daniel Pacella, who was then given an intentional walk. After a pop out, Seminaro drilled a shot just up the middle. It scooted past the pitcher and then squirmed into center field just between the Titans shortstop and second baseman.
"I just wanted to get on base," said Seminaro, who had two hits on the day.
"My main job was to see the first good pitch and get on base. Don't hit it the air and hit it on the ground. I hit it up the middle and I thought at least our guy would get to third. It snuck through and it was the greatest moment of my life."
Wellington, who is a senior, rounded third when he saw the ball head into center field. He slid safely home to set off a celebration that doesn't get old for the Mustangs.
"As soon as I saw the ball hit off the bat I am running full speed," Wellington said. "I don't think I have ever ran so fast in my life. It is so surreal."
Mundelein had taken a 1-0 lead in the first. Wellington had tripled to the right field corner. He then would score on Parcella's single.
"It was an exciting game," said Parcella, who had two hits and reached base in all four of his plate appearance.
"We try to keep confidence when anything goes wrong. We will do anything we can to get the win. We just have to keep rolling."
Glenbrook South (19-13), which was making its first quarterfinal appearance since 1994, tied the game in the third. Nic Swanson walked, went to second on a single by Scott Newman and would score on James Hackett's second hit of the game.
"The whole journey with this team has been a great joy ride," Glenbrook South coach Steve Stanicek said. "To get to supersectional game, we are very pleased with this. This is what high school baseball should be played like."
Mundelein starter Ryan Geraghty got out of that inning. The Junior, who entered the game with an 8-0 recurs, pitched until two out in the sixth, when he left with som stiffness in his arm. Caden Morton came on to end the inning and then pitched out of a jam in the top of the seventh.
"Caden came in and did an unbelievable job on the mound," Lerner said. "I am so happy for our community, our players. They work so hard to get to this spot."